COVID-19 – Information for Individuals

Information about ATO measures and tailored support during COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for individuals is provided below, including:

  1. $750 one off Economic Support Payment
  2. Early release of superannuation
  3. Reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
1. $750 one off Economic Support Payment

About 6.5 million Australians will get a one off payment as part of the Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19). You will be paid $750 once off as an Economic Support Payment if you’re living in Australia and get an eligible payment between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.

Eligible payments include:

  • Age Pension
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Austudy
  • Special Benefit
  • Carer Payment
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Carer Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Family Tax Benefit A
  • Wife Pension
  • Youth Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefit B
  • Widow B Pension
  • Partner Allowance
  •  Double Orphan Pension.

You’ll also get the payment if you have 1 of the following concession cards/ if you get 1 of the following Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Veteran Income Support Supplement
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • War Widow(er) Pension.
  • Veteran Gold Card.
  • Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
  • Veteran Service Pension

You’ll only get 1 payment, even if you get more than 1 qualifying payment or card.

You don’t need to do anything, other than making sure your details in myGov are up to date, and you will be paid automatically. You’ll get the money from 31 March with most getting it by 17 April 2020.

2. Early release of superannuation

From mid-April, eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

Applications for early release of superannuation (super) will be accepted through myGov from 20 April. You can register your interest now by logging in to your myGov account and following the Intention to access coronavirus support instructions.

Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

You are eligible to access your superannuation if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are unemployed.
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance.
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either:
    • you were made redundant
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    • your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more, if you are a sole trader.

Consider whether you need to seek financial advice before finalising your application.

3. Reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates

Minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products have been reduced by 50% for 2019–20 and 2020–21. These are not compulsory – you can still choose to withdraw pensions as per the previous rates if you choose.

Minimum annual payments for super income streams

Certain superannuation pensions and annuities are subject to rules that determine minimum and maximum amounts to be paid in a financial year. Once you start a pension or annuity on or after 1 July 2007, a minimum amount is required to be paid each year. There is no maximum amount other than the balance of your super account, unless it is a transition to retirement pension which is not in the retirement phase, in which case the maximum amount is 10% of the account balance.

The minimum payment amounts have been halved for certain pensions and annuities for the 2008–09, 2009–10 and 2010–11 years and reduced by 25% for the 2011–12 and 2012–13 years. The reductions in these years apply only to account-based pensions and annuities (allocated pensions and annuities and market-linked pensions and annuities).

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) – temporarily reducing superannuation minimum payment amounts

For many retirees, the significant losses in financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are having a negative effect on the account balance of their superannuation pension or annuity.

To assist retirees, the Government has reduced the minimum annual payment required for account-based pensions and annuities, allocated pensions and annuities and market-linked pensions and annuities by 50% in the 2019–20 and the 2020–21 financial years.

Superannuation and annuity providers calculate the minimum annual payment required at 1 July each year, based on the account balance of the member or annuitant. The 50% reduction will apply to the calculated minimum annual payment.

The following table shows the minimum pension withdrawals for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years, compared to previous years:

Age Previous Minimum % withdrawal rates Reduced withdrawal rates by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years (%)
Under 65 4% 2%
65–74 5% 2.5%
75–79 6% 3%
80–84 7% 3.5%
85–89 9% 4.5%
90–94 11% 5.5%
95 or more 14% 7%

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon nor is it a substitute for appropriate professional advice. Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of the material, it is not guaranteed to be accurate. Individual circumstances are different and as such, require specific examination. Asparq cannot accept liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of or reliance upon all or any part of this material. Additional information may be made available upon request.

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